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Wis. Senate panel OKs food stamp trafficking bill

Bill would make it illegal to buy, sell food stamps

MADISON, Wis. - A state Senate committee has approved a bill that would penalize the trafficking of food stamp benefits in Wisconsin.

The bill is identical to one that has already passed an Assembly committee and is scheduled to be taken up by the full Assembly on Tuesday.

The legislation would make it illegal to buy, sell or transfer food stamp benefits for cash and unlawful purposes.

It is already illegal in Wisconsin to make a fraudulent application for food stamps, fail to update income information or transfer benefits to a nonqualified person. But the law does not address trafficking benefits.

Rep. Samantha Kerkman says the proposal is aimed at people who sell their benefit cards and seek free replacements. Opponents say the proposal stigmatizes innocent users.

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